The Utah Jazz have been playing solid basketball the past week with five straight wins and look to stay in postseason contention Wednesday versus the Denver Nuggets.
The Jazz are even with the idle Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and have won the first two tests on this four-game homestand. After defeating Brooklyn on Saturday to kick off the stand, Utah posted a 112-102 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Al Jefferson had 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Mo Williams delivered 20 for the Jazz, who made 54 percent of their shots and had six players score in double figures. Derrick Favors (18 pts), Paul Millsap (16 pts), Gordon Hayward (12 pts) and Randy Foye (11 pts) finished in double figures.
"We're just playing like we want to be in the playoffs and that's the difference. We've just got to continue to play well," Jefferson said.
Utah has won each of its last five games by 10 or more points and improved to 28-9 in Salt Lake City. The Jazz will close the homestand Friday versus the New Orleans Hornets.
Denver lost two straight -- both on the road -- after winning 15 in a row, but got back into the win column with Friday's 109-87 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nuggets received a career-high 19 points from Evan Fournier in a reserve role and he saw plenty of action with point guard Ty Lawson sidelined with a heel issue. Wilson Chandler scored 16 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who are four games in back of Oklahoma City for the Northwest lead and the second spot in the conference standings.
"Our job is to get as high of a seed as possible, and whatever the injury situation, I think most people are fairly optimistic (Ty Lawson) will be fine," said Denver coach George Karl. "I don't think we should have anything in our head, except to try and win every game, and maybe the last game of the season think about resting the team if everything is solidified."
Denver scored 29 points off 21 Brooklyn turnovers and is 17-21 away from home this season. After visiting with the Jazz, the Nuggets will return to the Pepsi Center for three games.
Meanwhile, Lawson is doubtful against the Jazz and did not play against the Nets. He has missed four of the last five games and leads the Nuggets with 16.7 ppg.
The Nuggets are 2-1 in the season series with the Jazz, losing the first meeting in Salt Lake City on Nov. 26. Denver has lost three in a row and 11 of its previous 14 games in Utah.